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The Craft


Paul MacCormack

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So much of what happens in our daily lives is taken for granted. When you walk into a grocery store and you want a certain item, do you ever pause to think about how it got there? How often do you reflect on all the steps along the way that brought that certain piece of fruit or vegetable or loaf of bread to the shelf in front of you? Our lives are often times so busy and distracted that the idea of pausing and reflecting on how something comes into being seems like a foreign concept.

 Most of the experiences anyone has on a daily basis don’t occur in isolation. There is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work that goes on for anyone to enjoy fresh food, for instance. Same too for the last meal you ate at a restaurant, your last outing to a music event, and yes, even your last round of golf. None of these experiences happen out of the blue. They are all part of a vast network of people and variables that play a role in bringing the experience to fruition. 

Having flowed through an interconnected web of circumstances before arriving in front of us, the quality of the goods or experience depends partly on how we choose to receive it, but it also depends a great deal on the journey it took before we came to engage with it. 

If the process was forced, unsustainable or infused with suffering, in the end it will be apparent. Maybe not right away, but we all know when something isn’t genuine. If the process was open, and filled with passion and commitment to craft then it’s also readily apparent. As human beings we know the difference.

If the process was forced, unsustainable or infused with suffering, in the end it will be apparent...

Let’s pause a moment and think about an experience that lingers in our consciousness. It could be anything really, an interaction with a piece of art, a truly memorable meal, or the last movie or book that affected you. Think of all of the variables involved for this experience to resonate with you. Think of the emotions and the physical sensations you felt and how they imprinted this experience into your memory. If appropriate, reflect on the gratitude or joy this memory brings to you. 

When you find yourself in the toughest part of the season it can be difficult to remember why you do what you do. It can be hard to find space, come up for a breath and find perspective again. But if you pause, it can be really helpful to reflect on your process and how it affects those who enjoy our properties each day. Is your process constricted and laden with expectation? Is it causing unintentional suffering to those involved along the way? Or is it born of craftspersonship, passion and sustainability? Is it one that leaves everyone involved grateful to be a part of something bigger than themselves?

When we choose a process that starts and ends with kindness, then we inevitably create a larger experience. When we are dedicated to the craft of greenskeeping, then it shows in the end result. It shows in the sense of place and community that is created on our properties. And it shows in the lasting memories which are created. 

When we choose a process that starts and ends with kindness, then we inevitably create a larger experience.

In the end you cannot control how someone experiences your golf course. You have no influence over their situation or state of mind they may find themselves in while they play. What you can do is dedicate yourself to practicing the craft. You can create the conditions for positive outcomes, while releasing yourself from any burden associated with them.
One of the best lessons I have learned as a mindfulness meditation teacher is that it’s not my job to make someone a good student of the practice. All I can do is plant the seed. What happens after that is up to them. But along the way I can commit myself to the practice and the craft of teaching. I can study and learn and pass on the gift the best way I know how. And in the end, that’s all I can do. I must let go of the outcome and let the chips fall where they may.

So take care. Take care of your crews and those in your charge. Commit yourself to the craft and use kindness as your compass. In the end, it will show and those folks who love your course will continue to create memories that will last a lifetime. 

Thanks for reading.
 

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